On May 21st, 2016, we drove to Palm Springs for our second InstaCamp! Peep the recap to see what InstaCamp was all about!
Thursday (t-minus 2 days)
We left Thursday morning at 6:01AM (seriously, we checked the time as we backed out in our enormous van & Uhaul) and set our sails to glorious Palm Springs!
After four hours of throwback songs from the early 2000s, we arrived at The Saguaro Palm Springs. We stretched our legs and took a quick look around the hotel before heading out to get some much needed brunch. We stopped at the cutest restaurant and discussed our breakdown for the day over roasted pear salads, home-style potatoes and crisp bacon.
The entire day was dedicated to setting up all over The Saguaro, making our walkie talkies super handy. We managed to put the massive Stout Tent together for the Glamping area and hauled and unloaded all of our sponsor boxes for the Product Styling station.
Friday (t-minus 1 day)
We met at El Jefe for breakfast at 8AM and proceeded to our storage room to continue setting up. We did everything from spray painting pineapples gold for our outdoor bowling set, sprucing up our Waverly teepee & pillow set, and inflating our giant pizza and flamingo floaties. Our friends from Archive Rentals also came down to help us style the Glamping tent and Waverly teepees with the cutest vintage furniture around. We also got help from Amy Nicole Floral and her crew of brilliant florists. They added these UNREAL greenery backdrops in the sponsor room, bouquets at the check-in desk and sweet little touches here and there on the Stout Tent.
We continued to busily scurry around all day until we had to get ready for our VIP Happy Hour at Mr. Lyons. We got changed from our workout gear to our “werk it” gear and dashed off to set up and prep for an evening filled with our directors, sponsors, and VIP campers.
Thankfully, the toasty Palm Springs sun started to set as our guests arrived, making the patio the perfect place to mingle. Free drinks and mini appetizers consisting of prime rib sliders, crunchy risotto bites, and mini hazelnut desserts circulated amongst our guests. Before our VIPs left, we handed out the VIP goody bags stuffed with extra special gifts from our sponsors including mini bottles of wine from ONEHOPE Wine, Pura Vida bracelets, Baggu clutches, and Close to My Heart picture books!
After talking the night away with so many of the directors, sponsors, and VIPs, we cleaned up the event and headed back to The Saguaro to finish setting up. We hustled and bustled only to take a short pizza break at 10PM (#noregrets) and continued to fine tune all of the station rooms. When we finally got back to our rooms around 11:30, we got ready for bed, and set our alarms for the big day.
We woke up at 4:50AM—repeat, 4:50AM—and met at the storage room promptly at 6. We delegated our fully charged walkie talkies and were off to make sure everything was good to go.
Before the craziness of the day began, we decided to meet up in front of the Glamping tent to take a group photo. It took us a few tries because in one of the takes, an extra happy little camper (aka a Jurassic Park lizard the size of a 6-inch sub sandwich) jolted through the middle of the group sending us flying and screaming in all different directions. Ps: We’re not proud of this, but you should have seen the size of this thing.
At 8 o’clock, our campers started arriving at check-in. They were given their name tag with Jar of Buttons badges, a Bloguettes tumbler, and a Happy Camper backpack by Acorn Influence that was filled to the brim with fab products! Before the keynote presentation, campers could head up to the sponsor room where we had a Designer Lashes bar where ladies could get glammed up by our girl Julie for the day, as well as a braid bar by Magnolia Styling, where the talented Alyssa braided dozens of our campers’ hair.
The keynote presentation started at 9am where we introduced our esteemed panel of camp directors: Audrie Storme heading Product Styling, Chris Wong leading Landscape, Natalie Allen teaching Lifestyle & Portrait, Sakura Considine heading branding, and Amy Ward leading Editing. After a brief introduction, we broke down the rest of the day and split everyone off to go to their first stations!
Throughout the day, each camper rotated through three of the five stations where they got to hear from their leaders and put their lessons into action with hands-on learning. Here was the station breakdown!
Audrie Storme and her photographer beau, Raleigh, taught our campers all about the art and technique of product styling. After a quick introduction of everyone in the group, our experts showed the audience their thought process for setting up the perfect flat lay. After a few examples, our campers were allowed to pick and choose from the vast array of products to create the ultimate product styling photo. Some of our product sponsors included: Arvo, T.Madison, Joie, Street Level Bags, Baggu, Jar of Buttons, Minted, ONEHOPE Wine, Amy Nicole Floral, Pura Vida Bracelets, and Standard Wax.
Our co-founder Sakura Considine led the Branding station. As our Creative Brand Director, she was the perfect person to teach our campers all about integrating your brand’s message into your Instagram. From the types of photos you choose to post to the voice you write your captions in, each step is critical when it comes to branding! Campers took a “What Type of Instagrammer Are You” quiz and were grouped by results, letting students bounce ideas off of one another in hopes that they would get their branding questions answered.
Chris Wong led our Landscape station, taking our campers to different locations throughout the hotel in order to capture all of the various settings The Saguaro had to offer. Each group went to the pool (where a live DJ and tons of vacationers flooded the pool area) to photograph the blue water, bright colored floaties, and perfectly poised yellow umbrellas. After that, Chris taught his students how to capture a narrow hallway of red and gold flower bushes and make them appear longer with angles and people. For the third location, Chris took everyone to a new altitude. We walked up three flights of stairs to an open hallway where we could take a picture of rows of palm trees and the Palm Springs skyline. Thanks to the staff at Moment, we received a few Moment lenses to help up capture those tricky wide angle shots! The final lesson was in front of The Saguaro hotel where we learned how to photograph a “strideby.” This is where a person walks and you have to take the picture at just the right moment where their body is perfectly still and isn’t overshadowed by the architecture in the background.
Amy Ward, our Creative Director, taught the Editing station where she schooled our campers in the dictionary definitions of photo editing. She taught her students how to convey a message simply through the filters and attention to detail that comes with editing. Students were allowed to ask questions and give advice to each other based on what type of editing look they wanted to accomplish.
Lifestyle & Portrait
Natalie Allen and her assistant Maggie headed up the Lifestyle and Portrait station. The duo taught our campers how to make their subject feel comfortable and pose them in a way that is natural. Thanks to our friends at Joie our students had plenty of fun clothing accessories to use as props in their photos! The campers were taken to a few different areas where they could put their skills to the test and take pictures of their newfound friends.
At one point during the day, each of our campers got to hang out in our sponsor break room. Here, they got to meet with some of our sponsors and ask any questions they had about their company and products. Campers also got to charge their phones at our Kool. charging stations, mingle with their group members, and take pictures in front of the beautiful displays by Amy Nicole Floral and Archive Rentals. Our all-star list of sponsors included Suja Juice, Planoly, Something Social, Waiakea volcanic water, Magnolia Styling, Designer Lashes, and Zico coconut water!
Halfway through the day, we broke for a buffet style lunch catered by El Jefe. Tortillas, braised chicken, seasoned rice, and a slew of fresh toppings were at our campers’ disposal, along with mini churros for dessert.
We ended the day in the keynote room where each director picked one of the best photos from the submissions and announced a winner. Winners were gifted various items including Arvo watches, T. Madison accessories, ONEHOPE Wine, an Archive Rentals succulent garden & pair of vintage champagne chutes, books about Instagram, YouTube, & Pinterest strategy donated by Jason G. Miles, and Moment camera lenses.
It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but we couldn’t have asked for a better group of happy campers! An infinite amount of gratitude to The Saguaro Palm Springs for housing our event! To our sponsors who graciously donated their products and their time, thank you from the bottom of our hearts! To our amazing directors who took time out of their lives to pass on knowledge from their careers, we are so thankful to have had the best group around. And finally to our campers, we hope you learned a lot, had fun, and are now able to take on the Instagram world!
Want to see even more? Click here to watch our official InstaCamp recap video!